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Try These Coping Skills When You’re Slipping into Unhelpful Eating Habits

When you find yourself binge eating, compulsive overeating, restricting, or getting back into diet mentality, it’s best to go back to the basic principles of your food foundation and get reacquainted with using coping skills and strategies.

Why You Need Coping Skills

Let’s face it- sometimes life just gets lifey.

When we react to difficult times by emotional eating, not only are we left with the original problem, but we’ve also made it worse. For example, let’s say we’re feeling anxious about communicating our needs to a friend or co-worker, so we go to binge eat and distract ourselves from or numb away our discomfort. After the binge has ended, not only are we still left with not having communicated our needs, but we’re also left with feeling physically uncomfortable, bloated, and disappointed with ourselves. This is why we need coping skills.

Instead of turning to food when this anxiety hits, we need strategies to tolerate the distress until we can solve the problem or the difficult emotion passes.

When you’re needing to use skills, and are unsure of where to begin, start with these two steps.

Step 1: Make yourself a personal list of five things you can do to when a craving or urge to eat hits to help distract your mind or calm down your body. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Call a friend
  • Validate your feelings, or get curious as to why your feelings make sense
  • Play a game, watch a show, or do an activity
  • Take a walk
  • Listen to music or a podcast
  • Imagine how you’ll feel when you get through the difficult situation in your integrity
  • Take a shower or bath, or pamper yourself
  • Organize a corner of your room
  • Use deep belly breathing or an ice pack to calm down your emotions

Step 2: After you’ve picked 5 skills to use in a tricky moment, practice them ahead of time!

You want to use the skill first in a non-stressful situation so that when a craving hits, you can use the coping skill with some muscle memory! 

Remember, the idea of using coping skills is not to feel 100% better, it’s just to get through the difficult moment without sacrificing your integrity and long-term goals. By using coping strategies to bide the time, we can allow for emotions and cravings to pass and get to the other side feeling proud and motivated to continue strengthening a healthy relationship with food.

Using these coping skills, combined with the behaviors of a strong food foundation, will set you up for success in even the most difficult of times.

Want more support? Check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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